Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Stroke Survivor Stories - Youko Yamaguchi

Where were you when the stroke happened?  
My wife, Youko Yamaguchi, was traveling with her friends 17 years ago. While chattering at night club after dinner she got subarachnoid hemorrhage at the age of 53. The hotel manager called ambulance car, and she was carried to an emergence hospital.

Could you access hospital?
A phone call at 11 pm asked me to come to the hospital soon. I drove about 440 km all night, and arrived there at 7 am.  After approval sign, the operation took place. 
The shrinkage of blood vessels occurred 7 days after the operation and my wife suffered aphasia and became right side hemiplegic.

What expectations did you have for treatment, rehabilitation, recovery?
We didn’t know anything about aphasia, so we couldn’t imagine anything about treatment, rehabilitation and recovery.   She murmured “I am sorry, sorry, I made a serious thing!” ”How should I manage many tasks to be done”   She couldn’t recognize that she couldn’t continue these tasks.  Without any special rehabilitation, she left the hospital one month later.

What was your experience of treatment and/or rehabilitation?
2 days later after we returned home, my wife was admitted to a rehabilitation hospital cerebrovascular center.  Here physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy began.  She was positive about the physical therapy because it was carried out in a large gym and she could interact with other patients.   But, occupational and speech therapy took place in small private room, and therapists sat down side by side without noticing the appearance of my wife.   They only executed the curriculum without any guidance from their superiors.  During 3 months stay, her communication didn’t improve clearly.  But, she could stand up and walk by herself and use a spoon and knife with her right hand.

What has helped in the recovery?
3 months later she moved to another rehabilitation center in Yokohama for 2 months, which mainly focused on language rehabilitation.   The speech therapist sat face to face with my wife, greeted and talked about easy topics.  Then, the language rehabilitation curriculum started. This speech therapist advised us to make a Japanese syllabary table. Each Hiragana was combined with each Chinese character which was easier to remember than Hiragana for my wife.  Using this table, rehabilitation was carried on.  The speech therapist also advised my wife to join the calligraphy circle which was open next door to the hospital.
After my wife left the hospital, we visited once every week for language rehabilitation for two and half years.   The speech therapist advised us to install a specific software to our PC, and advised us to write and send a short mail to her about any topics.  A few days later the return mail came back without fail. Video conversation through IPad facetime with daughters and grandchildren was also a great help for her rehabilitation.

What have been/are your fears?
When my wife has to live alone, how she can manage to live daily life without my support.   This is most serious matter to us.

How did your family and friends feel and respond?  

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